BUS600 Wk2 Assignment
BUS600 Wk2 Assignment
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Date Created: 11/14/15
Running Head: VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 1 Vietnam and United States: The cultural hurdles and glue Kerry Vault BUS600: Management Communication with Technology Tools Dr. BarbaraLeigh Tonelli Ashford University March 9, 2015 VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 2 Introduction Communication is paramount in any business relationship, and the success of the communication is derived directly from the ability for each party to know their counterpart well enough to deliver and receive the proper message. In terms of crosscultural communication, many factors present challenges in the delivery and receipt of these messages that must be considered prior to conducting business affairs. To aid in the consideration of cultural differences, Professor Geert Hofstede created a cultural dimension tool. This tool allows one to analyze multiple dimensions of a business relationship based on the specific nuances of each culture, and knowing this information, prepare a plan of integrating the two cultures into a successful business relationship. According to The Hofstede Centre (nd.), it is crucial to know the dimensions of a culture because “...what may be an effective and efficient way of coordination in one country may prove to be ineffective, inefficient, or even counterproductive in another” (Applications of National Culture, para. 9). In this paper, I plan to utilize the six dimensions of this cultural tool to analyze the United States and Vietnam for the purpose of aiding two companies – one in each country – to successfully create and maintain a business relationship. United States and Vietnam According to The Hofstede Centre (n.d.), the U.S. is a highly individualistic and fairly indulgent society, placing little emphasis on maintaining a long term cultural belief system. On the other hand, Vietnam exists culturally with a very distinct difference between the powerful and subservient people within the society, falling in line with a very low presence of VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 3 individualism, yet a higher than average distinction of longterm cultural beliefs. These major differences between cultures are perhaps tempered by the similarities these two countries share – mainly a fairly low uncertainty avoidance index, calling on the flexibility and relative ability to maintain a relaxed viewpoint toward changes affecting the future (Baack, 2012). Another similarity that may help tie these two cultures together is the relative believe in masculine values – although the U.S. score is slightly above average and the Vietnam score is slightly below. To put the differences and similarities of the two cultures into context, the chart below will be used to help aid in the comparison of cultures. Power Distance VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 4 This dimension is one that the two cultures are well divided on, with the U.S. scoring low and Vietnam scoring high. What this difference tells us is that the U.S. citizens consider themselves fairly equal with each other, deeming the working class just as privileged as the high class. This is probably derived primarily from the sense of equality and liberty deemed by the Constitution. Vietnam, on the other hand, shows a clear distinction between the ruling class and the working class. The working classes expect to be told what to do, and the ruling classes are not very tolerable of their wishes being questioned (The Hofstede Centre, n.d.). The primary way for companies in these two cultures to bridge this gap is for a clear delineation of power to be established, requiring the U.S. personnel to expect to be equals to the Vietnamese personnel, however, still creating a hierarchy within each organization that is clear to both parties. This way the bosses of the Vietnamese company know who to discuss business with in the U.S. company, and assistants, or lower level employees in the U.S. company will not feel offended if they are treated as such. Individualism This is by far the greatest difference between these two cultures, and should be treated as such for the companies to succeed in establishing a relationship. Since the Vietnamese company would be accustomed to working together as a team, placing the needs of the company above the needs of any individual, the idea of creating camaraderie and a sense of teamwork should come fairly easy. However, in the case of the U.S. company, the tendency for the officers of the company to first consider what they can personally gain from the business relationship will be overpowering and potentially problematic. The best course of action is for the U.S. company to brief the officers about the necessity to incorporate more teamoriented thinking into their VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 5 negotiations and conversations with the Vietnamese company, seeing more of a big picture goal to be obtained. Masculinity This dimension is somewhat even between the two cultures, and although the U.S. displays a higher than average tendency toward a masculine society – which according to The Hofstede Centre (n.d.) “…represents a preference in society for achievement, heroism, assertiveness and material rewards for success” (Dimensions, para. 3) – the Vietnamese culture is just below average, leading to less of a gap and therefore easier for each company to relate. It would seem that the Vietnamese business men and women may be less motivated by tangible gifts from doing a good job than their U.S. counterparts, however, the relatively low need for this by both cultures is a good common ground for each to stand on – knowing that the satisfaction of a job well done may be sufficient. Uncertainty Avoidance Both cultures share a fairly low uncertainty avoidance score, lending a good chance that both companies would be flexible to changes without known outcomes. Not that the companies would be willing to risk everything in lieu of the other company’s ideas, but presumably both companies would be willing to risk a change in protocol to gain growth and success in a cooperative venture. In an article about job security and the cultural response to avoiding risk, House et al (as cited by Debus, M. E., Probst, T. M., König, C. J., & Kleinmann, M., 2012), state that cultures who score high in uncertainty avoidance rely on “…social norms, rules and procedures to alleviate the unpredictability of future events” (p. 691). This reliance on rules and VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 6 regulations to avoid unpredictability is taken fairly lightly by both cultures, leading to a shared ability to make changes to suit the needs of both companies, regardless of the cultural stigmas associated. Long Term Orientation Vietnam displays a higher propensity for long term orientation than the U.S. does, speaking to the fact that certain beliefs and social norms are held in low regard for Vietnam. This would be a potential problem when both companies come together, as the U.S. company, in following their cultural system, would be more conservative in changes it makes regarding those socially acceptable acts. This may cause the Vietnamese company to believe that the U.S. company is inflexible in meeting their demands, without understanding that the U.S. company is more poised to make decisions based on long term strategic goals versus short term tactical outcomes. This situation calls for an understanding from the Vietnamese company so as to not confuse the intentions of the U.S. company – as this is probably an easier fix than asking the U.S. to change their cultural orientation. Indulgence Lastly, and perhaps a bit easier to provide a solution to the difference in cultures, is the indulgence dimension. This score is related to how likely the people are to spend hardearned money on throwaway objects, overdo some rewarding behaviors such as eating or drinking, and perhaps requiring more frequent gratification for a job well done. Since the U.S. score is almost double that of the Vietnamese, it is apparent that perhaps the level of individualism is closely tied to the propensity for indulgence. Since the Vietnamese culture shows a lower likelihood of VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 7 indulgent behavior, this difference may be immediately apparent to the U.S. business people – which may play a part in putting both cultures in line with each other. It seems that relationships, especially those of a professional manner, are built ands maintained with respect. Because of this, the U.S. counterparts may want to maintain respect – and therefore will notice the lack of indulgence in their Vietnamese partners, and follow suit. Conclusion Crosscultural communication relies heavily on each party’s knowledge of each other’s culture. This is made more important by the need to communicate in a business relationship, specifically in a relationship that is further complicated by cultural differences. To tackle these differences, one must know how to determine what they are, and the use of Hofstede’s cultural dimension tool, it is clear what challenges present themselves, and perhaps how to conquer them. In this paper, it was found that the United States and Vietnam share similar cultural beliefs as well as having vast cultural difference – and the ability for each company to understand their counterpart in a cultural fashion will allow for a successful business relationship. VIETNAM AND UNITED STATES: THE CULTURAL 8 References Baack, D. (2012). Management communication. San Diego, CA: Bridgepoint Education, Inc. Retrieved from https://content.ashford.edu.books/AUBUS600.12.2 Debus, M. E., Probst, T. M., König, C. J., & Kleinmann, M. (2012). Catch me if I fall! Enacted uncertainty avoidance and the social safety net as countrylevel moderators in the job insecurity–job attitudes link. Journal Of Applied Psychology, 97(3), 690698. doi:10.1037/a0027832 THE HOFSTEDE CENTRE. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://geerthofstede.com/unitedstates.html
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